I’ve been to Florida many times. Even lived there for a year but never had the chance to really explore much of it. After all, it is a pretty huge state. I’m sure I will never get to explore it all. On our last trip to Florida we had the opportunity to explore a new state park called Rainbow Springs State Park. It was absolutely breathtaking to say the least and has a lot to offer as well.
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OUR DAY AT RAINBOW SPRINGS STATE PARK
We woke up Saturday undecided as to where to go. As we all sat in my in-laws living room, we started searching online for nearby state parks. Three Sisters Springs came up so we decided to head to Crystal River to check it out but plans changed shortly after talking with my sister-in-law. She had shown us some pictures of Rainbow Springs and the gorgeous water there so off we went. She had me at waterfalls. Yes! Waterfalls in Florida!!! That’s almost unheard of.
OFF TO THE TRAILS AT RAINBOW SPRINGS
Once we arrived we parked at their main parking area, headed to the front desk to pay our entrance fee (it was only $2 when we went), and followed the signs past the gift shop and to the trails. The trail we took was mostly paved and led to a butterfly garden. Along the way we were lucky to see three man-made waterfalls. Yes! Sadly they are man-made but to be honest, they don’t look it one bit. These three man-made waterfalls are absolutely beautiful and definitely a highlight of this state park.
As we passed the waterfalls, we then made our way to the butterfly garden. Sadly it wasn’t the season for the butterflies but it was still pretty to walk through the garden. The trail continued into the woods on a rugged path but this was our turn around point for the day.
On our way back we made a few stops at some spots overlooking the beautiful blue and green spring water. The water of the springs was very clear. You can see the turtles and fishes swimming around. We even saw an area that had bubbles coming out of the sand below. That was a pretty cool thing to see. I wonder if it came from the caves below? I found this article about the springs at Rainbow Springs to be very interesting as to how the springs work and their magical wonders.
Legend has it that the water at Rainbow Springs posses magical healing powers.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Besides hiking the trails, Rainbow Springs State Park has a lot to offer. One of the most favorite things to do during the hot summer months is go to the springs for a swim. Many others even go snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, or even paddle boarding. They have a designated swimming area as well which is perfect for you to get away from the trails and into the clear blue water. Did you know that the springs always stay about 72 degrees in temperature all year round? How cool is that! It’s not too cold and not too hot. It’s just right! Perfect way to beat that summer heat, right?!
You can also go camping at Rainbow Springs State Park. I would definitely want to do that one day just to try it out. I remember going camping at Land Between The Lakes and being able to walk off my campsite and go paddle-boarding at the lake with ease. It was a perfect way to just get up and enjoy the great outdoors and with the kayak and canoe rental and docks right there on the campground, it would definitely be something we would enjoy as a family.
Rainbow Springs has a lot to offer it’s visitors. You can view a full list of all of their activities and amenities here. From gift shops to gardens, and even concession stands and restaurants.
WHAT TO BRING
Florida is known for it’s hot summer days. While I always recommend traveling during the spring and fall seasons to beat the heat and the crowd, this isn’t always possible. Trust me, I know from experience and understand the struggle. Regardless of what time of year you go though, there are a few things that you should always bring with you to the park. Please take note that this also depends on what your activity is going to be.
If you decide to just hit the trails and head out like we did then here are a few things I highly recommend you bring.
- Water – I use my Hydroflask or Healthy Human reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and keep my water nice and cold all day.
- Sunscreen – I use my Raw Elements reef safe sunscreen for all of our hiking activities. You can read more about it here. Use code TWM10 for 10% off.
- Comfortable shoes – If you are looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly brand of shoes then you should check out Xero Shoes.
- Comfortable clothes to walk in
- Scrunchies, hair clips, headbands, or a hat – Because it is so hot in Florida, I always recommend to keep your hair up and out of your way.
- Kula Cloth – (optional) You may not need a Kula Cloth if you’re just doing a short trail but if you decide to take a longer trail then carrying a Kula Cloth with you may be a good idea just to be on the safe side. Guys you are lucky in this department. You can read more about it here.
- Snacks – You may not need snacks but I always like to bring some with me for my kids just in case. I have a list of healthy snacks for kids here. Peak Sherpa energy bites is also another one of my favorite snacks. I always keep a pack in my purse or pack any time I leave the house. You can read more about it here. Use code TWM15 for 15% off.
- Bug Repellent – This is a must. There were mosquitoes there and tore us up. Sadly Florida is known for their very loving mosquitoes. I love to use this Deet-free one by Repel.
You can also check out these two articles for more information on what hiking essentials you need when hiking with kids.
In conclusion, we really enjoyed this state park. Rainbow Springs has a lot to offer and I can’t wait to go back to fully experience everything this park has. From the camping to swimming at the clear springs to even hiking more of the trails.
Have you ever been to Rainbow Springs State Park? What is one state park or springs that you really like to visit? Let me know in the comments.
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Rainbow Springs State Park
19158 SW 81st Place Rd.
Dunnellon FL 34432
You can view their website here.
You can view their map here.